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Stelios offers £3m peace deal

EASYJET founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has offered to drop his branding case against the budget airline if it agrees to pay him £3m a year in royalties, it has emerged.

It is understood that Haji-Ioannou made the proposal, which would equate to 0.1 per cent of easyJet’s annual revenue, to the airline’s board last month.

The two are set to face off in court at the start of June in a legal battle that is understood to potentially cost easyJet £5m in lawyer fees and is expected to be dragged out until the autumn.

EasyJet would not confirm any figures, but a statement from the airline said: “We cannot comment on commercial negotiations, but we’ve already said that we are open for commercial settlement if it benefits all our shareholders.”

The heart of the court dispute is over an agreement easyJet and Haji-Ioannou made in 2000 when the company floated.

Both parties agreed at the time that easyJet keeps 75 per cent of revenues, which it saw as “core” to being an airline, while easyGroup, which is owned by Haji-Ioannou, would retain 25 per cent of revenues made from additional or non-core services.

Haji-Ioannou, who owns 38 per cent of easyJet, wants a ruling on the definition of the brand licensing agreement, which would clarify the total income the airline receives from ancillary services.

Further tension was caused by Haji-Ioannou last week when he resigned from the easyJet board and threatened to take action with shareholders against the airline’s expansion plans.